Last week, I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with my son’s class. It was the first one since pre-COVID, so it was nice to see the students together again outside of the classroom. It was also refreshing to see teachers, parents, and grandparents interacting and conversing again, much as they did prior to 2020.
We visited the beauty of the Dismals Canyon in Phil Campbell, Alabama, and had the best day walking through the beauty of God’s creation under an overcast sky with the crackle of leaves under our feet and the sound of rushing waterfalls in the background. If you have never been to this national natural landmark, it’s definitely worth checking out. Just wear your waterproof hiking boots and be ready for some rough terrain, several stream crossings, and a few uphill climbs – the perfect challenge for 40 energetic 5th-graders. Not so much for their unsuspecting parents and grandparents. The trek through the canyon got a little amusing at times!
Nonetheless, wholesome quality fun was had by all!
I left the field trip overwhelmed with gratitude for the school that my children attend and with an even greater appreciation for the school’s administration and teachers. The teachers had the trip seamlessly planned down to the minute. Organization and structure are of utmost importance in my book. And it’s not often that you see a head of schools (aka headmaster) drive a bus full of upper elementary students and spend the day helping the kids and their parents hike the canyon. With only tennis shoes on, he stood ankle-deep in more than one cold stream with an outstretched hand helping each student and adult cross safely … and dry, for the most part.
Teachers, parents, and students all worked together helping each other throughout the canyon. It was a real picture of community.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking at our school through rose-colored glasses. It’s not perfect. No school is perfect. Nor are its teachers, students, or parents. After all, we live in a fallen world full of fallen people. But we are blessed and grateful to God that our children can attend a school where “Christ is first, academics are second to none,” and family and friendships are valued. When Christ is first, all else falls into place. When He’s not, sin starts to permeate the classroom and the education system begins to crumble.
Take for example this headline from a recent Fox News story – “Florida school board member takes elementary school students on field trip to gay bar: ‘So honored’”
What? … Yes, you read that correctly. Broward County School Board member Sarah Leonardi gushed on social media about how honored she was to chaperone an elementary field trip to a popular gay bar.
According to Fox News, Leonardi posted, “I was SO honored to be invited to chaperone Wilton Manors Elementary’s field trip to the incredible Rosie’s! The students and I had a fun walk over and learned a lot about our community! A huge thank you to Rosie's Bar and Grill for hosting this special field trip every year!”
Why are adults taking elementary students to a bar, period? And a gay bar at that? Makes no sense whatsoever. And then for a school board member to boast about it? She even posted a picture of the students inside the bar amidst its rainbow décor.
I can’t even wrap my mind around how any level-headed adult could justify this as an elementary field trip. I’m blown away by the rationalization of it but not shocked.
Around the same time, Fox News also reported about a Kentucky high school that held a homecoming event that included a “man pageant,” Hooters outfits, lap dances by cross-dressed students on staff, and photos of the principal being amused by it all. This is the same Kentucky principal who is “being sued for improperly chaperoning a school trip where a student was allegedly raped by another student.” He’s also been involved in past investigations of incidents involving students and alcohol use.
Here are some of the details from Fox News:
“[The principal], who is also the mayor of Hazard, Kentucky, was seen in photos posted to the Hazard High School Athletics Facebook page earlier this week taking part in an event where scantily clad students were giving staff members lap dances and some female students paraded around in Hooters outfits.
“Public outcry over the event, referred to by the school as a ‘man pageant,’ sparked an investigation from the Hazard school district and on Thursday it was reported that disciplinary actions have been taken. …
“Some Hazard residents and students have defended the ‘man pageant,’ saying it is being taken ‘out of context.’ One resident described it to Fox News as a ‘tradition of jocularity during Halloween’ going back many years. …
“[The principal] did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Fox News.”
I mean, what do you say?
For believers, there is a lot to say, and we can start with: “Enough is enough!” We can take a stand for what’s right and speak out against what’s wrong. We can call sin what it is – sin! And we can stop making excuses for the common good. Together in love, we can get ankle-deep in the uncomfortably cold of streams of life, and with outstretched arms lead the lost into a relationship with Christ.